Freedom of Expression

Press Release R26/12








Washington D.C. March 8, 2012−The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of Haitian journalist Jean Liphète Nelson, which took place on March 5 in Cité Soleil.  The Office of the Rapporteur urges the competent Haitian authorities to carry out a diligent, timely, and thorough investigation and not to rule out the possibility that this crime is related to the victim’s work in the media.


According to the information available, the reporter was traveling in a car when he was blocked by two individuals who fired several gunshots. Jean Liphète Nelson was taken to a hospital where he later died.  He was the director of community radio Boukman (95.9 FM), a broadcast station created in 2006 that focuses on social issues, civic education and the promotion of human values.


The authorities have not determined the motives behind the killing and are investigating several hypotheses.  The Office of the Special Rapporteur requests that the authorities not discount the possibility that the death was tied to the journalist’s professional activities and urges them to conduct a thorough investigation, to clarify the circumstances of the crime, to identify and punish those responsible, and to ensure just compensation for the victims' next of kin.


Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "The murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation."


The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression in the hemisphere, given the fundamental role this right plays in consolidating and developing the democratic system.